It's true! In five to ten years the banana might be all but extinct! I've been in a perpetual state of shock since I found this out yesterday afternoon. Turns out that a new string of the the evil fungus known as the Panama Disease is spreading through Asia, killing off the banana, and it's just a matter of time before it a global banana holocaust is a fact.
This has actually happened before, to the first variant of bananas that was produced and exported worldwide - that banana died in the fifties. It was a larger better tasting banana than the one we know today. The evil banana companies had to conquer more and more land that wasn't contaminated, and the era of repressive Banana Republics began. They eventually started growing the banana we know today, since it was resistant to the disease, however mediocre it was in comparison with it's predecessor.
And now it's happening again. The bananas we eat are all the exact same variant, that's why it's so cheap, all production and cargo ships are the same. And when the disease strikes the whole monoculture dies. There are thousands of varieties of the banana, but they all need different treatment to stay fresh until they reach your little mouth in your non-banana-growing country, and the whole industry is built to fit this one.
So prepare yourself for new banana wars, and a future where you'll have to pay a hefty price for perhaps weird little red or green bananas, or start growing your own.
Hear the story on Scientific American's podcast - Can science save the banana?